V4 Whitehouse Underpass Frequently Asked Questions
The Western Expansion Area (WEA) is situated between Crownhill and Stony Stratford. Once completed it will include 6,550 new homes, employment land, green open spaces and parks, a main street with retail and leisure units and schools.
Occupation of homes in the Western Expansion Area (Whitehouse and Fairfields) began late in 2015 and is now increasing rapidly. There were no safe pedestrian crossing facilities across the grid roads. A toucan crossing is now in operation between Fairfields and Fullers Slade. The pedestrian crossing schemes are part of the urgent work to provide safe pedestrian and cyclist crossings in the Western Expansion Area.
The programme is split over 3 phases;
- The Watling street (H1 to H2) pedestrian crossing which was completed before December 2018.
- The construction of the H4 pedestrian crossing which was completed in May 2019
- The current phase is an underpass on Watling Street near to Whitehouse roundabout on the V4 between H4 and H3. Work began early in June and is due to complete in spring 2020.
The schemes are to provide safe pedestrian and cyclist crossings in to the Western Expansion Area.
When will work on the Whitehouse underpass finish?
The scheme is due to be complete within 10 months and will open in spring 2020 after Anglian Water complete their pipe works. The programme can vary due to utility works and weather conditions. Any possible changes to dates will be shared via signage near the site and on the website.
Will the road be closed during these works?
The road will be closed throughout construction of the new underpass.
Why is a road closure required?
The building of a new underpass is a major engineering project, requiring significant excavation. Many services such as telecommunications will need to be diverted, as well as utilities that include gas and water.
Why is the road closed for its whole length?
This is to allow safe access and also to allow access for utility providers (e.g. Anglian Water installing new water pipes for the wider Western Expansion Area)
Will there be overnight works?
We will be restricting works as much as possible to daytime working. Due to the nature of some of the utility works we will require some overnight working. We will write to affected residents prior to any overnight works and mitigate any noise while on site.
Were other options considered?
We looked at an option to build a temporary road to maintain access. The cost of this would have been approx. £600,000 and the road would still have had to be closed for three months to complete these works. After much consideration, this was rejected based on the need to still have a road closure for utility works and the costs.
Are there any additional works taking place?
We are working with Anglian Water and L&Q estates to complete an additional junction improvement within the closure, and install a new pipeline along the V4 from the H3 to H4 to ensure that water pressure is maintained for residents now and in the future. Street Lighting will be upgraded and landscaping will also be involved to avoid closures in the near future.
If there is an issue with diversion signs what do we do?
Our service provider carries out daily maintenance and checks on the diversion route for road and redway. Any issues are resolved while on site.
Will the work impact any landscaping in the area?
Please see design drawing showing new road layout following scheme completion. The works do require some landscape clearance and in some areas tree removal will be needed. As part of the works a new planting scheme has been designed to allow planting of species appropriate to the location. Any trees removed will be recycled. They will be chipped and ‘chippings’ are used as fuel.
A significant amount of pre-works has already taken place to ensure that all work takes place in the correct environment in a controlled way. An example of this is where we relocated an existing Great Crested Newt fence carrying out the necessary hand searches and surveys to protect the Great Crested Newts. The Great Crested Newts are a European protected species. The newts, eggs, breeding sites and resting places are protected by law. All Construction projects have to follow a strict set of guidelines from Natural England, such as putting monitoring plans in place to assess the great crested newt population.
In this process we did not find any Great Crested Newts, however due to the nature of the site our construction team will continue to survey and monitor to ensure the local habitat is protected. The fence will be moved back to the final position after construction.
Will there be regular updates?
Will the Redway be closed?
Yes, the redway is being re-graded and re-designed to allow safe access into the new underpass. A temporary diversion through Two-Mile ash is in place and has been appropriately signed.
How is it connecting to the existing footpath?
The finished scheme and underpass will ensure connections for pedestrians are enhanced for residents in Whitehouse. The underpass will connect into the existing V4 redway on the Two Mile Ash side.
Will you be monitoring impact to local residents?
Similar to any scheme, we will be monitoring the traffic and looking to mitigate disruption to local residents. This may include additional signage, temporary speed limits and other protection to local estates, however there is likely to be some disruption to the immediate surrounding areas, and we do apologise for this.
Where can I find more information?
A webpage dedicated to the underpass construction and regular updates www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/v4crossings
What have you been doing for the last two weeks?
Regular updates will be published here
Why is the new 40mph limit on the H4 only on part of its length?
The 40mph limit will run from Crownhill Roundabout to the junction with Hendrix Drive. This extent has been discussed and agreed with Thames Valley Police. The 40mph limit needs to be seen once vehicles leave the roundabout and therefore has not been placed next to the Grange Farm Roundabout.
Why will the works take so long to complete?
The building of a new underpass is a major engineering project, requiring significant excavation of a 12m wide, 25m long 8m deep gap in the V4 to place the new concrete underpass. Many services such as telecommunications will need to be diverted, as well as utilities that include gas and water. Because of the number of utilities and services involved, this is a complicated and timely process, which has added to the time required to complete the underpass.
Whilst we have a closure in place to build the underpass, Anglian Water will carry out works at the same time to build a new pipeline along the V4 from the H3 to H4 to ensure that water pressure is maintained for residents now and in the future.
Last Updated: 19 March 2020